Before the war, President Bush approved a plan that would have put several hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers on the U.S. payroll and kept them available to provide security, repair roads and prepare for unforeseen postwar tasks. That was the plan. It was logical and sensible.
But that project was stopped abruptly in late May, 2003 by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, who ordered the demobilization of Iraq's entire army, including largely apolitical conscripts. He talked about an eventual Iraq security force of 20,000. (I did not forget a zero.)
Now I never liked a guy who would wear work boots and a suit when he was not working on a construction site. It is too affected. I never much cared for someone that does the cute first initial, second name routine. So I never was a fan from the moment I learned of him, but I remember the afternoon when I heard on the radio, a report about this decision. The announcement and decision was stunning. How it was justified and sanctioned would make an interesting read.
It is the single decision that has probably cost more US casualties and more chaos than any other of many bad decisions. Seven months after the fall of Baghdad, a single Iraqi army battalion existed to reinforce inadequate and overstretched U.S.-led occupation troops.
Bremer reversed himself a month later, but by then the occupation had lost time, momentum and credibility among former soldiers and their families. The Iraq army was broken and gone. Any fool would have realized the importance of stability over doctrine, not L. Paul Bremner. This morning there are more dark consequences of the Bremer decision.
'100 kidnapped' from Baghdad ministry
Tuesday, 14 Nov 2006 09:35
As many as 150 people kidnapped from Baghdad research institute
- Calgary Sun, Canada
Witness says Iraqi police watched sectarian kidnap
- Reuters AlertNet, UK
Iraqi police watched sectarian kidnap: witness
- Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates
Up to 100 people have been kidnapped from a government building in Baghdad, reports from Iraq suggest. Details are sketchy but it appears as though a group of gunmen dressed as Iraqi police arrived at the higher education ministry building in the centre of the Iraqi capital.
The Reuters news agency reports that a ministry spokeswoman said that the gunmen separated the women from the men and abducted the latter group. It is believed that those kidnapped included ministry employees and visitors, as well as about 25 scientists.
Police spokesman Major Mahir Hamad told the Associated Press news agency that a group of gunmen dressed in commando uniforms arrived at the office in Karradah in about 20 vehicles at about 09:30 local time (06:30 GMT) this morning.
He said the hostages were forced into the vehicles at gunpoint and driven away. Roads had been sealed as part of the raid.
Karradah is a mixed neighbourhood of Sunni and Shia Muslims but tension between Baghdad's different communities has been a feature of the recent violence in the city.
Shia militia forces have previously used forged IDs and interior ministry uniforms when carrying out kidnappings.